The National Academies

NCHRP 23-48 [Anticipated]

Understanding, Creating and Measuring Public Value; Lessons Learned from Public Agencies

  Project Data
Funds: $300,000
Staff Responsibility: Trey Joseph Wadsworth
Comments: In development / First meeting will be held on October 1st and 2nd in Washington DC
Fiscal Year: 2025

This project has been tentatively selected and a project statement (request for proposals) is expected to be available on this website. The problem statement below will be the starting point for a panel of experts to develop the project statement.

Unlike a business providing shareholder value through a monetary exchange of products and services to individual clients or customers for individual consumption, the public sector operates from a monetary public entrustment to provide goods and services for collective consumption. This public investment obligates the public sector to understand the values and aspirations of the served community and be efficient and effective in managing their resources and create public value. 

In 1995, Mark Moore developed a public value strategic triangle: (1) legitimacy and support, (2) operational capacity, and (3) public value. “Public value” describes the value of contribution to served communities and broader society. For transportation, infrastructure and services provide benefit to system users and adds value to the public sphere. It represents agency-public consensus of principles and benefits and pertains to the content of service and how it is delivered. When instituted as an organizing principle, public value creation guides administrative policy and management decisions with an aim to increase the value of societal and community benefit. Transportation administrators define and solve problems from a value perspective when deploying public assets. Evaluating management decisions through a public value lens promotes better understanding and achieving both traditional outcomes and value-based performance expectations. 

World Road Association (PIARC) research published in Measuring Customer Experience and Public Value Creation for Transport Administrators (2023) focused on understanding how transportation administrations measure efficiency and effectiveness of customer experience and public valuation creation with emphasis on the customer experience component. There remains a need to further develop a framework for the creation and measurement of the public value that considers and emphasizes societal contribution in decision-making. The PIARC research was limited to the evaluation of existing work by transportation administrations and agencies. There are non-transportation public sectors with mature frameworks for creating and measuring public value that transportation administrations can learn from, adapt, and adopt as practice.

To further understand, create, and measure the public value of transportation services and contributions to community and societal goals, this research has two objectives:

  1. Identify non-transportation public agencies that proficiently capture and measure public value data and are using it for policy decision-making.
  2. Using transportation agencies identified in previous research and non-transportation public agencies identified in Objective 1, review and synthesize public value creation programs, frameworks, and practices in areas that are scalable and applicable by other transportation agencies. The areas represent the dimensions of public value described in Faulkner and Kaufman’s Avoiding Theoretical Stagnation: A Systematic Review and Framework for Measuring Public Value.


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